Community Science represents a network of leading community development practitioners and scientists in the United States and Europe, with offices in Maryland, Italy and Portugal. Our staff members are knowledgeable and experienced in a wide range of methods for supporting and evaluating community initiatives. Our staff has worked with diverse populations, both geographically and culturally, including African Americans, Asian Americans, Latin Americans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders in rural and urban environments.
In addition to our staff and a national network of collaborating consultants, we have a core group of senior consultants who are widely recognized for their commitment and comprehensive work in providing research support, technical assistance, training, and grants management support in various substantive areas, including organizational and community capacity building, community organization, health promotion, violence prevention, substance abuse prevention, intergroup relations, cultural diversity and immigrant integration. We also maintain our professional relations through involvement in several professional associations, including the American Evaluation Association, American Public Health Association, Association for Community Organization and Social Administration, National Community Building Network, and Society for Community Research Action.
David Chavis, Ph.D., is Principal Associate/CEO of Community Science (formally the Association for the Study and Development of Community). He is internationally recognized for his work in the implementation, support, and evaluation of community initiatives, including a distinguished career award from the American Psychological Association and the Outstanding Evaluation of the Year Award by the American Evaluation Association (AEA) with Kien Lee. The primary topic of his work and scientific publications has been the relationship between community development and the prevention of poverty, violence, substance abuse, illness and other social problems through community capacity building. He has lead the evaluation of placed based comprehensive community initiatives concerning substance abuse and community development at the national and local levels for the White House Office for National Drug Control Policy, US Department of Justice, US Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, National Cancer Institute, Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and several other national and local foundations. He has also designed, managed, and implemented capacity building systems for community change initiatives. Before founding Community Science, David Chavis has been a community organizer, community development corporation executive director, director of large university research and public service center, and tenured university professor. He has been an officer and Board member of AEA and other nonprofit organizations. His current work focuses on the how to integrate innovation into the community change practices in order to have maximum impact at the appropriate scale. RESUME || EMAIL
Paul Florin, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Rhode Island and an Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at Brown University. For the past twenty-five years, he has been the director of the Community Research and Services Team (CRST) of the Department of Psychology of the University of Rhode Island. The CRST has, partnering with other community and state level organizations, procured over 37 million dollars in federal and foundation funding, 85% of which has been distributed directly to Rhode Island communities. Several five-year projects have been broad collaborative initiatives, involving the CRST, twenty to thirty-five Rhode Island communities and multiple state agencies. These collaborations have produced impacts such as Rhode Island becoming the seventh state in the nation to go ďsmoke freeĒ with following declines in smoking prevalence and uptake and, more recently, significant state-wide declines (beyond secular trends) in underage drinking. The CRST publishes its evaluation studies, focused on training and technical assistance systems which build the capacity of communities and governmental units to plan, implement and evaluate prevention and health promotion interventions. Dr. Florin has also been a consultant around the design of community based prevention programs and training and technical assistance systems to national and international organizations including the National Cancer Institute, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, American Legacy Foundation, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the Ministry of Health for the Providence of Ontario, Canada and the Center for Maori Studies, University of Waikato, New Zealand. RESUME || EMAIL
Scott Hebert, MCP, Principal Associate. Over the past twenty years, Mr. Hebertís professional work has principally focused on evaluation and knowledge-building efforts. Mr. Hebert has conducted a wide range of evaluations, concentrating particularly on comprehensive community change (CCI), workforce development, and economic development initiatives. For the past six years, for example, he has been one of the key members of the cross-site Evaluation Team for the Annie E. Casey Foundationís Making Connections initiative, which was designed to improve community conditions and results for families and kids in tough neighborhoods. Mr. Hebert also previously directed the national evaluation of the Annie E. Casey Foundationís Jobs Initiative, a ten-year effort to improve the employment and economic outcomes of disadvantaged young adults and families through workforce development system reform. He also served as Project Director and Co-Principal Investigator for the national evaluation of the Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities (EZEC) Program for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition to his evaluation work, however, Mr. Hebert has more than a dozen years of experience as a practitioner in the design and implementation of community revitalization programs at the local and state levels. He served as Director of the Massachusetts Small Cities CDBG Program, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing Operations for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Communities and Development. He also served as the executive director of a regional anti-poverty agency for five years. Building on this practical experience and his extensive knowledge of best practices, Mr. Hebert has provided strategic planning and technical assistance services to a wide range of community initiatives and local and state agencies over the past two decades. He also has co-authored a number of guidebooks and training manuals for federal and state agencies and philanthropies, as well as a wide range of evaluation reports and publications synthesizing the learnings from initiatives. Mr. Hebert has a Master of City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. RESUME || EMAIL
Kien Lee, Ph.D., Principal Associate, is a co-founder of Community Science and directs, manages and provides research, evaluation, and other types of technical support to national and local community change initiatives. She has directed and implemented evaluations on institutional capacity building, intergroup relations, immigrant integration and cultural competency, as well as led numerous community and organizational assessments. She has worked with community-based organizations to transform research into practical knowledge to inform their change strategies. She has presented at national conferences on evaluating and providing capacity building support to cross-cultural community efforts. She was the recipient, along with David Chavis, of the 2002 Outstanding Evaluation Award from the American Evaluation Association. She is widely published and a sought after speaker in areas including immigration integration and cross-culturally competent evaluation. RESUME || EMAIL
Ricardo Millett, Ph.D., Principal Associate, brings a formidable background to Community Science in providing program evaluation and strategic planning consultant services to foundations and non-profits. He was formerly President of The Woods Fund in Chicago, where he developed and implemented a strategic grantmaking plan for the foundation that served it well in responding to the needs of Chicago least advantaged. Prior to the Woods Fund Dr. Millett was Director of Program Evaluation for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. There, he focused on building greater communication and collaboration between evaluation and program staff to maximize the use of evaluation as an integral part of programming. Before joining the Kellogg Foundation, Dr. Millett served as senior vice president of planning and resource management for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay in Boston. There, he was responsible for planning, allocation, and distribution of organizational resources to meet the needs of greater Boston. RESUME || EMAIL
LaKeesha N. Woods, Ph.D., Senior Associate, has extensive experience providing program development, evaluation, and consultation services in clinical and community psychology. Her research has focused on cultural influences on the development and functioning of youth and families of color; and culturally congruent preventive interventions for youth placed at risk. She has provided clinical services to individuals in inpatient, outpatient, in-home, alternative school, and prison settings; and evaluation and consultation services to children and youth, family violence, and prisoner reentry programs. Dr. Woods currently serves as an evaluator on The Colorado Trustís Equality in Health Initiative, ONDCPís Drug-Free Communities Support Program, OJJDPís National Safe Start Demonstration Project, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation Plain Talk Initiative. RESUME || EMAIL
Oscar Espinosa, MA., has over 15 years of federal project management experience. His primary area of expertise is program evaluation, including the development, collection, and reporting of performance measures used by Federal agencies to comply with the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and other federal reporting requirements. Mr. Espinosa has conducted numerous literature reviews to identify metrics that appropriately measure grantee and funding agency performance relative to their mission; designed numerous data collection instruments, including interview and site visit protocols; and developed data collection clearance packages for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). For the last several years, Mr. Espinosa directed the evaluation of the Office of Minority Healthís (OMHís) Resource Center (OMH-RC). He led a review of all OMH-RCís products and other outputs, and based on those products, developed various data collection instruments to conduct an unbiased assessment of the quality and breadth of OMH-RCís services. He also developed a customer satisfaction questionnaire that was used to query recipients of OMH-RCís information services. Mr. Espinosa also has served as the lead evaluation technical assistance (TA) provider for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Qualityís (AHRQ) health IT and patient safety grant portfolios. The TA included planning for and focusing granteesí evaluations and selecting appropriate evaluation designs and measures. TA provision activities also focused on helping AHRQ to collect common and reliable data across all grantees that allowed the agency to satisfy its GPRA reporting requirements. For a demonstration project funded by SAMHSAís Center for Substance Abuse and Prevention (CSAP), Mr. Espinosa provided TA to a drug prevention organization that serves a highly diverse recent immigrant population in DC. For this project, Mr. Espinosa translated and pilot tested CSAP outcome measures instruments and collected survey data through bilingual interviews, questionnaires, and document reviews. He tested survey instruments and outreach materials, and reviewed focus group protocols for cultural and developmental appropriateness. RESUME || EMAIL
David Epstein, MUP, Managing Associate, has extensive experience in the analysis and evaluation of urban planning initiatives and sociotechnical systems. His work has focused on clarifying and improving collaborative decision-making in the public and nonprofit sectors in the areas of housing and economic development. Mr. Epstein has worked with at-risk youth as a volunteer for Big Brother Big Sisters (Waterville, ME) and at Brightside for Families and Children (Springfield, MA). He has provided technical and substantive consulting for Community Legal Resources and the Sugar Law Center (both in Detroit) and for the Cross-Border Freight Analysis Project (ECF/USAID, Israel & the West Bank). In the Strategic Affairs department of the labor union, UNITE, Mr. Epstein evaluated the transparency, accountability, and cost/benefit outcomes of New Yorkís Empire Zone program. He is currently an evaluator for the Ford Foundationís Financial Products & Services / Financial Justice 2013 Monitoring Survey and designing custom GIS routines to support evaluations of W. K. Kellogg Foundationís grantees in Mississippi. He will defend his Ph.D. dissertation, ďFostering Participation & Capacity Building with Neighborhood Information SystemsĒ at the University of Michigan in Fall 2013. RESUME || EMAIL
Julia Lee, Ph.D., Managing Associate, has experience in research, evaluation and health promotion in community settings. She has provided technical support for several health and social science research projects on health disparities, intimate partner violence, and community development. Ms. Lee has also worked extensively with community organizations, coalitions, as well as local schools on program evaluation and evaluation capacity building by providing technical assistance, education, and training on monitoring and evaluation, measurement, data collection, and reporting. She has served as the local evaluator for national and state-wide programs, such as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers and the Strategic Prevention Framework-State Incentive Grant. She currently provides technical and logistical support to research and evaluation projects on health equity, health disparities, and immigration integration. RESUME || EMAIL
Susanna Shapiro, MS, Managing Associate, has worked for over 10 years to strengthen civil society organizations and grassroots movements through capacity building (technical assistance, peer learning, coaching and mentoring), community organizing, evaluation, and social change grantmaking. She is passionate about facilitating connections and trust-based relationships across cultural lines to advance economic and social justice.
As a program officer at Pact, Ms. Shapiro supervised a final evaluation for a democracy and governance program in Central America. She also provided technical and operational support to country programs in Swaziland, Lesotho, Malawi and a regional program based in El Salvador. Prior to joining Pact, she was the Program Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Global Fund for Children (GFC), where she spearheaded GFC's first Organizational Development Handbook. Ms. Shapiro has designed, implemented, and evaluated development initiatives in Jamaica, Ghana, India, Brazil, and Central America. She has also facilitated in national and international settings, including at multi-grantee knowledge exchange workshops and organization-wide retreats. From 2004-2008, Ms. Shapiro worked as a consultant in the World Bankís Social Development Department and the Safeguards Advisory Team. Prior to that, she served as an at-risk youth advisor in the Peace Corps/Jamaica and worked with Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) in Peru and Ecuador. RESUME || EMAIL
LeKesha Perry, MA, MPPA, Managing Associate. Located in Mississippi, Ms. Perry supports the evaluation and evaluation-related capacity building effort for the W.K. Kellogg Foundationís place-based work in the State of Mississippi. She works closely with the rest of the evaluation team to deliver training and technical assistance services related to evaluation and information management and use, as well as collects, analyzes, and reports on evaluation data. She is integral to ensuring that the evaluation design and implementation of the Kellogg Foundationís work in Mississippi occurs within the context of the stateís history and current social, economic, and political dynamics. Ms. Perry has experience working with local elected and non-elected leaders in communities across the state to address policy change. She has conducted trainings for a wide range of people, from municipal officials to citizens on topics such as civic education and leadership development. She supervised students in Mississippi State Universityís Master of Public Policy Capstone Program; the students worked on projects that dealt with a variety of issues, such as community change, voter participation, and education disparities. RESUME || EMAIL
Brandi Gilbert, PhD, Associate, has used evaluation and research as tools to inform practice and policy in both the national and international context. Her past work has included research and evaluation on disaster preparedness among community-based organizations, volunteerism in higher education, housing recovery efforts following the Haiti earthquake, and womenís involvement in technology-focused fields. Throughout her work, she has engaged with various entities such as schools, churches, community colleges and universities, government agencies, and community-based organizations. Her evaluation interests include education and youth, issues of social inequality, community and systems change, and disaster preparedness and recovery. Dr. Gilbert is experienced with various aspects of securing and conducting evaluation and research projects, including proposal writing, budget preparation and management, instrument development, procedures associated with the protection of human subjects, qualitative data collection and analysis, report preparation, and presentations to local and national level audiences. She received her bachelorís degree in Elementary Education from the University of Delaware and her doctorate at the University of Colorado; additionally her training includes participation in the American Evaluation Association Graduate Education Diversity Internship program and the American Sociological Association Minority Fellowship program.RESUME ||EMAIL
Angel St. Jean, MA, Associate, has ten years of experience combining research and practice to develop impactful community development programs and policies. Mrs. St. Jeanís interest is in long-term, comprehensive approaches that invest in human capital, strengthen communities and improve systems for lasting change. To that end, she has worked with community residents, small businesses, elected officials, and the media to advance strategies and policies that lead to greater impacts for the people and places that are typically underserved and underrepresented at the political and economic decision-making table. Prior to joining Community Science she worked on a team that conducted research and developed recommendations to support governors and other state leaders working to improve conditions in urban areas. She also provided research, policy analysis, and recommendations for groups across the United States advocating for local and state policies to facilitate economic development. In another role as executive director of a nonprofit organization focused on community revitalization, Mrs. St. Jean created and managed a strategic organizational and programmatic growth plan which resulted in the organizationís increased visibility, reputation, and effectiveness. She prioritized research and evaluation to create and continuously improve programs ultimately leading to better outcomes. Understanding the importance of capacity building to program success her efforts also focused on building the human resources, funding and relationships to complement programmatic growth. She has also been an effective community organizer, adept at understanding community needs and designing responsive programs and policies at the neighborhood, city and state levels. RESUME || EMAIL
Margaret Paek, MPH, Research Assistant, supports projects through data collection, analysis, and technical assistance. She comes from a background working at the community level in public health research and youth engagement. Her work at the American Heart Association focused on a tobacco use prevention program for minority youth. Her previous research work with the Center for Pan-Asian Community Services Inc. focused primarily on identifying and mitigating health disparities for minority communities in Georgia and Alabama. She has research experience in data collection, analysis, and reporting (quantitative and qualitative data), as well as experience with program implementation. Ms. Paek has developed and conducted youth education programs emphasizing mental and physical wellbeing. Through participation in community events and as a youth educator, she has disseminated wellness information and promoted health education for at-risk demographics. Ms. Paek's interests lie at the convergence of community-based health promotion and data-driven analysis, and she believes in the capacity of these ideas working together to support and inform community change. RESUME || EMAIL
Roan R. Bennett Director of Business Operations, manages the organizationís financial, contract administration, human resource management, office operations and business development functions. Prior to joining Community Science Mr. Bennett spent the last 4 years with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration where he was the Planning and Capital Programming Division Manager. As a Planning and Capital Programming Division Manager he was responsible for initiating, developing and managing the planning and capital programming process for the MVA. He was also responsible for developing and maintaining the Strategic Business Plan, Service Delivery Plan and related master-planning processes and programs to meet MVA goals and objectives. Mr. Bennett has also worked as a transportation consultant on a variety of projects, for State and Federal Transportation Organizations, providing project management, policy and technical support. Mr. Bennett received a Bachelorís degree in Business Administration from Stonehill College. EMAIL
Jane Taff, Office Manager, is responsible for the companyís office administration and report production. She supports staff on human resource topics, manages all travel, plans meetings and events, and assists the Director of Business Operations with financial and administrative duties. Before joining Community Science, she was the Operations Manager of Hassle Free Home Improvements, with responsibility for human resource management, accounts payable and receivable, and overall office management. She also spent thirteen years working for IBM Credit Corp in several capacities. EMAIL
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